Those paratroopers, the first ally soldiers to touch norman soil on the night of the 5th to the 6th June, have been key characters in the Battle of Normandy. After liberating the village of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, they valiantly fought off the nazi enemy in the whole Cotentin, eventually allowing the Allies to establish a firm bridgehead that facilitated regaining control of France over Germany.
As soon as the paratroopers arrived, an authentic friendship was established between them and the norman villagers, a friendship that was considerably reinforced, in a very intimate way, following the construction of 3 temporary cemeteries in Sainte-Mère-Eglise. These cemeteries were created to provide decent burials for the 13 000 american soldiers who died on the field during the Battle of Normandy. For 3 years, between 1944 and 1947, the norman villagers took great care of the graves, putting flowers on them, and corresponding with the families of the departed overseas, in the United States. This is one of the reasons why the anniversary of the D-Day in Normandy so quickly became an annual commemoration so dear to the region, and still is to this day.
This unwavering link between the United States and Normandy, and the eternal gratitude that the normands have for the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their freedom are the museum’s reasons to exist. In this regard, the museum spotlights this unique army corps that is the paratroopers, by explaining their inception, their history, and their accomplishments during World War II, as part of the duty of remembrance, especially important now that so much time has passed and that the last witnesses of the events are rarefying.
At the heart of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, facing the church where paratrooper John Steele got stuck hanging from the bell tower by his parachute, and made famous in the film The Longest Day. The Airborne Museum makes you live and understand the D-Day from the invasion preparations in England, through to the battles for liberation.
Board a glider and a C-47 aircraft with sound and light effects for a total immersion. You will also accompany the soldiers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division in the decisive battles of the Normandy Landings thanks to a hyperrealistic museography.
At the entrance to the museum, we give you a HistoPad tablet that will transport you in 1944 to a glider landing site, a field hospital, the church square during the German occupation… and many other intense scenes to discover! Learn more about it.
Board on mythic planes and discover historic items which bring you in June 1944. The Museum will bring you into the history of Sainte-Mère-Eglise through four buildings :
- The WACO building
- The C-47 building
- Neptune Operation
- The Ronald Reagan Conference Center
Thanks to the Waco glider and the C-47 planes, visitors and enthusiasts are invited to get back in time while browsing through this historic site.
In the Operation Neptune building, be prepared to parachute on the 6th of June 1944! Join the nighttime embarkation of a C-47 aircraft in England, then drop into the square of Sainte-Mère-Eglise in the midst of the fighting and take part in the operations that followed.
You will discover moving testimonies and personal recollections; most of them were donated by Americans Veterans.
While leaving the Airborne Museum, you will keep in mind the poignant memory of these tragic hours that made Sainte-Mere-Eglise, its church and its surroundings enter History.